Congress Signs Off On $189 Million Advancing Rail And 2003 Referendum
August 12, 2013
Congress has again given the green light for METRORail expansion – allowing the Authority to fulfill the goals of Houston’s 2003 referendum with the appropriation of $94.5 million for the North/Red Line extension and another $94.5 million for the Southeast/Purple Line. The funds are part of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreements signed by federal officials in November of 2011.
METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia said, “This is another key development in our progress towards building light rail for Houston. We want to extend thanks to our congressional delegation and the many people who have supported efforts to improve the METRO transit system.”
METRO has already received $523.7 million of the Full Funding Grant Agreements. The transit agency expects to begin receiving this latest $189 million appropriation within the next 30 days and will spend the money completing the 5.3 mile North/Red Line extension which is a continuation of the current Main Street Line as well as the 6.6 mile-Southeast Line. The Southeast/Purple Line will tie into the Main Street. Line, providing Texas Southern University, and the University of Houston Central Campus with new transit options. The remaining $187.3 million of the FFGA is expected to be appropriated in 2014.
Tom Lambert, METRO interim president & CEO said, “This action allows us to finish the work the people of Houston voted for. Congress is giving us a critical tool with this funding, and we are taking every step we can to make sure these are dollars well spent. Our staff and the north side community are looking forward to the opening of the North/Red Line in December of this year. Meanwhile work continues on the Southeast/Purple Line and the locally-funded East End/Green Line, which will open later in 2014.”
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) is the region’s largest public transit provider, offering safe, reliable and affordable transportation services about 370,000 times per day. Besides operating more than 1,200 buses, METRO is currently expanding its 7.5-mile light-rail line (Red Line), with three new lines under construction. METRO’s services also include: STAR Vanpool, METROLift, HOV lanes, HOT lanes, Bikes-on-Buses/Trains program, Park & Ride and road improvement projects.